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Owner-Contractor-Subcontractor Dispute

I am a General Contractor. I have been working on a projects for several months and hired a subcontractor to do the painting. Unfortunately, the homeowner has decided he needs to minimize the size of the project and has decided to not go through with several projects, including the painting. I no longer need the painter's services, we never signed a contract. He provided an estimate of $15,000. He now is suing me for $15,000 for a job he never completed and we never signed on. Are verbal agreements legally biding and am I required to pay him for a job that never even came through? I live in Massachusetts.

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